Above: Bill Carman’s “Shared Eyewear” an acrylic/oil painting on panel sold for $1.23 million dollars at a recent Sotheby’s auction. This is a record for something painted by a bald, white Asian looking guy with a moderate to nearly good physique.
I mean seriously, this is what we would all like to see in a caption under our work (minus the bald white etc.). Realistically if we took the million off it would fit most of our stories. Any of us whose career has taken a definite turn toward the gallery market live a lot of our lives on faith. We paint hoping they will come. As an illustrator they would come and I would paint. I know, first an illustrator has to get them to come but at least I knew that if I put time in, money would come. But the great hope of doing gallery work is that I paint what I want. Is that a lie? Maybe a discussion for another time. For now the generous Muddy Colors site has asked me to post about my upcoming feature at the AFANYC Gallery’s collector’s show in Soho. So this is essentially a self-serving post with very little wisdom. There are however a few important things that really hit me as I was preparing for this exhibition.
My work can take a long time to finish. I have moved toward a do it and it will develop into a masterpiece school rather than a plan it well in the beginning and you might save time and headache school. This means that my efficiency rating is at lower than government levels. But it also means that discovery is a huge part of every piece I create. I have no problems with motivation and inspiration (by the way I have great post for inspiration if I ever get invited back after this post). Frustration is an integral part of the process and becomes extreme motivation. Discovery is always a main goal. The issue then is; while I am struggling and reveling in the struggle how do I make money until the millions come in from the show? I don’t do a lot of illustration anymore for whatever reason (it used to be a primary part of funding while building a show).
I love illustration, but my voice seems to have taken me in a different direction and those who buy illustration can’t use narwhal or fuzzy bear things to sell anything. Imagine that.
So private commissions help fill the gaps. There was a time when I disliked doing privates but I now have a system that actually makes them enjoyable. Never had an unhappy moment with a client. Not sure I have ever had a happy moment but at least no complaints. Helps to turn off email for a few weeks so even if there is complaining the client thinks you have died.
But, of course, foremost in my mind over the 6-18 months I usually have between shows are the paintings for the exhibition. There have been shows with themes, there have been shows with threads, but mostly my shows are disparate parts orbiting the singular dull humor that won’t leave me alone. If you want to see how an exhibition should be put together see Travis Louie, Mark Ryden, or Naoto Hattori. But if you want a no guarantees adventure come see my show. Maybe I’m a trendsetter. In the future the best exhibitions won’t be beautifully organized linking pieces building to a thematically and visually thundering climax. Perhaps the show seen as genius in the future will be a ninja-ed, blended and vomited offering of pieces on different surfaces, of differing sizes bearing seemingly little in common ideas; A show that finally induces epileptic seizure. I can see it now. I am the future.
In the meantime I hope you enjoy the few things from the exhibition offered here. And if you are in NYC after December 15th come and see my featured work and the work of other artists in the AFANYC Gallery’s collector’s show. If you’d like to attend the opening December 14th and don’t have a lot of money then forget it. (Here is where I would insert some appropriate emoticon if I used emoticons.) Actually please email me.
My thoughts exactly!
Ah yes! Thank you for writing and sharing. When does the show come down? I will be in NY, but not until Jan. I love the range and variety in the show. I also plan on waiting outside the show and mugging whoever buys “Dehydration”. I could possibly save up and buy it, but taking it by force will add gravitas to the painting's history.
Also, it would be great to see some details of these, possibly with some raking light to show the surface details. Please, sir, I want some more.
Killer work Bill!
And you're funny! I mean your work is funny. (I'm serious.)
Which is not to say that you, personally, are serious or that killers are funny. Just that you are killing it in the funny department, in a serious way. You're seriously funny too, in my personal opinion, but in a way that's kind of serious in a personal way. As in Funny Farm serious, funnily enough, which is a personal matter. Seriously. (My cat wrote this.)
If enough people write a comment will that help ensure that you are asked back to write that article on inspiration? That's an article I am hoping to read.
And if by chance someone mugs you for “Dehydration”, that will only help it's mystic right?
Me as well. Inspiration please. Techniques are all very well, but the “source”, the “wellspring” , that provides the catalyst for using those techniques – that,s the heart of the matter and where it get,s interesting. Not always easy to put into words though………
I'll take gravitas over money any day Howard. I'll post a link to the show but if there is not enough detail then let me know I can send you images large enough to see nose hair.
Start a comment landslide and I'll make Dan let me post.
My wellspring is deep Paul. Not always easy to put into words is right but I'll work hard to make it happen.
I am kind of wondering if your inspiration talk could be a Pandora's Box, but I am game for the risk, inspire away Bill 🙂 And best of luck with the show!!
I'm up for a bit of inspiration Bill! Then again looking at your work is enough to get my brain fired up.
Great luck with the show!!
Well, Bill, one of many things I find fascinating about you and your art is that you are an ultimate prototype of a “primordial” artist … a species that is threatened with extinction in our turbo-times dominated by the notion of targeting the right clientele, or the economic pragmatism. You seem to be totally genuine and complete in your expression; you think (write) as you paint; you paint as you think … You are your art, your art is you… and the results are marvelous! You are definitely an inspiration to a seasoned artist like myself, but I really hope that you are (or will be) an inspiration to a few young upcoming creative minds as well, for as they say, the future belongs to them. Chapeau, my friend!
Finally can post here again. While I was away I would try to comment here, write it all out and then hit publish and it would all disappear. The funny thing is a couple finally worked then it stopped. Must have been the machine I was using. My phone wouldn't do it at all. Smart phone dumb user. I'm saying this in a humorously serious way, thanks Kev. I've been on and off the farm for years. Seen your cat there too.
What better box is there Paul. hope to wee you this year again at Spectrum Live.
Petar, kind words from a great painter. Turbulent though this profession can be it is always wonderful to honestly say that I am and not just that I do.